This post was originally published on October 30, 2015.
I got my costume at Trashy Lingerie in West Hollywood, an iconic shop on La Cienega with a Pepto Bismol pink stucco exterior that sells all sorts of outlandish lingerie ensembles. Back in 2011, it was one of a few spots to snag a slutty fairy-tale outfit—nowadays you can find trashy Snow White and Sleeping Beauty costumes for $19.99 at Target and on Amazon.
And at Trashy Lingerie, the costumes aren’t cheap.
The whole ensemble set me back $300, and thanks to a fresh line of credit (that would be soon maxed out), I could purchase it. The costume itself, a shimmering baby-blue dress cutting right below my ass with a white apron sewn into the bodice, was only $200, but I also had to have that $69 petticoat to wear beneath the skirt. And I couldn’t leave the store without buying the $20 white fishnet thigh highs—no one would let me into wonderland without those.
After getting all dolled up and making myself look what must have been ridiculous (I’m 5’9″, and the costume really just made me seem like an overgrown child at 22), I planned to kick the ass out of the West Hollywood parade with my best friend Jen and all her gay boys. She dressed up as a dominatrix in an ass-hugging leather miniskirt, knee-high leather boots and a strapless leather bustier showing off her fake tits, a leash wrapped around her friend Todd’s neck.
And Todd’s place was our first stop. We’d pre-party (get extra high) at his pad just up the hill from the parade, then we’d march alongside the guys in drag and other crazy assholes walking on stilts and covered in body glitter, reveling in how hot, edgy and cool we were.
When we entered Todd’s place I followed the trail of weed smoke into a small room at the back where a bunch of attitude-ridden rich USC art kids sprawled out on the bed, smoking off pipes and snorting coke. I grabbed a pipe from someone fast, lit up and sucked hard.
“Woah, slow down Alice,” one of the guys said. “That’s some strong chronic.” But I’d smoked weed before, so how bad could it be?
I inhaled, I hacked, I inhaled some more and hacked some more, and finally I felt wonderfully out of my skin. I smoked an entire bowl in about five minutes, so fast I started hearing whispers—“Tracy Tracy Tracy”—coming from the crowd. People were talking shit about me, about my outfit, talking in double-meanings, so I confronted Jen.
“Why is everyone talking about me?”
“No one is talking about you,” she said.
But the weed, or whatever it was laced with, hadn’t fully settled into my brain…yet.
The parade was flooded with all sorts of crazy costumes—my favorite was a Latino dude dolled up as Frida Kahlo complete with a very real-looking furry unibrow. There were lots of other slutty princesses too, and as we walked further and further west, I became convinced that my friends were trying to lure me into some sort of trap.
“We’re going to tie her up,” I heard Jen say. “Then we’ll beat the shit out of her and rape her. She’ll love it.”
In that state of severe paranoia I thought they were going to kill me. Still the weed hadn’t fully infected my psyche. Part of me knew it might just be pot-induced nightmare, so I checked in with Jen again.
“Are you plotting something against me?” I asked her.
“No, sweetie, what are you talking about? We’re just having a good time.”
“Did you lace that weed with something?”
“No, nobody laced the weed!”
Argue as you may that pot is harmless, the symptoms were exactly like the symptoms of schizophrenic paranoia. I was terrified, terrified that if the weed—or whatever it may have been laced with—sent me into those delusions I’d never snap back back, and terrified that if it wasn’t the weed, my friends would murder me. By that time, strange bugs started crawling all over me and I scratched my skin red.
My friends’ whispers got louder. “Let’s take her back here to the alley,” they said. “We’ll tie her up.”
Petrified, I bolted, running fast away from my friends against the sea of thousands of people walking west. I ran east in those stiletto Mary Janes, dressed in that ridiculous Alice costume, huffing and puffing in terror as though running from the Jaberwocky, and everyone was staring at me. Thankfully, I didn’t break my ankle or smash my nose in while tripping.
The only safe place to go was the parking lot for Gelson’s, an upscale grocery chain across the street, but the sliding doors were shut tight. It was past 11 pm, and they were closed. Still, I banged and banged on the doors frantically until the security guard let me in.
“I’m in trouble!” I yelled. But all those employees took one look at my disheveled hair and trashy costume, frowned in disdain and returned to whatever they were doing.
Out of nowhere, all the breads and cakes started talking to me from the bakery section.
“Tracy, Tracy, Tracy,” I heard the little Wonder Bread loaves whisper. “Tracy Tracy Tracy, they’re going to kill you,” the orange-frosted cupcakes said from within their plastic boxes.
“I need to use the phone!” I screamed to whoever was listening. I did not have my own phone—I left my purse at Todd’s apartment and with it my wallet, my phone, my keys…everything. Thankfully, the Gelson’s manager let me use the phone at the customer service kiosk, and I called my roommate to pick me up.
Andrea was nothing like me. She was a rock-solid evangelical Christian who thought I lived a pathetic sinful lifestyle, and I interrupted her preparation for a mid-term in her computational biology class. She wasn’t too thrilled to hear from me.
By the time she rolled up to Gelson’s, I wasn’t sure if she was real or not.
“Are you real?” I yelled through the doors. She just looked back at me annoyed and slowly nodded, pissed off that I interrupted her studies, but like a good Christian woman she took me home.
“There are bugs all over me!” I yelled in the car as I scratched my skin raw. “Ahhh!”
I expected sympathy from Andrea, but all she said was “Don’t talk to me. I’m very angry right now.” Still, she put me to bed and made sure I was all snug and cozy, like so many friends and boyfriends and family members had done over the years when I’d been too wasted to go to sleep properly.
Nothing got sorted out until the next day. It took hours for me to snap out of that trip—I really believed, all the way through to the next morning, that those guys were going to take me hostage and beat the shit out of me. What I got from inhaling weed as fast as I downed Grey Goose was a severely resentful roommate and a severely resentful best friend who wrote me a long ass email two days later explaining how she couldn’t hang out with me if I was ever intoxicated at all on any substance ever, including booze.
Of course it took me another nine years to take the hint and get sober. But I did get three more Halloweens out of that $300 costume.